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Should we fear a locust apocalypse? Will listening to Japanese while I sleep help me remember it? How do I remain confident in my art around older, more experienced artists? And more!

 (00:00) to (02:00)


H: Hello, and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

J: Or, as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank.

H: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother John answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  John is my brother and I wanna know how he's doin'.

J: I'm doin' well.  Everything here in Indianapolis is great.  I'm working a lot on writing.  I've been writing very intensively for the last little while.  I mean, really, for the last 15 months or so, but especially for the last little while, and to be honest, I'm not thinking about much else, so it's very difficult for me to answer the question 'how am I doing?' without talking about my new book, which my publisher has very specifically asked me not to do.  

H: I just celebrated my tenth anniversary of being married to my wife.

J: Aww.  

H: We went out of town, we went to the lake and we were up there and we went to a very fancy restaurant and for those of you who don't know, my wife is quite pregnant at this point, and we walked into this fancy restaurant and this cute old couple who looked like they've had a happy marriage for the last 60 years, looked--sort of beamed at us as we entered the restaurant.  Obviously, they've raised their own children and I think they maybe saw a little bit of us in them, and they said, they said, "Table for three, then?" and as we walked past them and I had no idea what he was talking about, I was so confused that I was like, did you want me to join you, 'cause I will, you seem very nice.  And then I just, and then we all laughed and walked on and Katherine was like, he was talking about the baby.  And I was like, oh, boy, yes, he sure was, that was a good joke that I didn't get at all.  And that's my story.

J: Well, fortunately, I know that that couple are long time fans of the pod so now they know that you eventually got their joke.  

H: I assume, I assume, one can only assume that they are longtime fans of the pod, as, of course, are almost all humans.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)


John, do you have a short poem for us.

J: I do.  It's a short poem that will lead to an extremely long correction.  We made a few mistakes in our most recent episode, Hank, you argued that Lego have no calories recently, which is incorrect.  Everything has calories, because, you know, calories are a measure of how much heat is produced by the energy inside of something.  

H: Well, I would say that not everything has calories.  There's two different ideas here, there's the calories, like, calories, like, I was saying calories in terms of like, energy that we could extract from something, and then there's calories that could be extracted through oxidation, but there are things that can't be oxidized.  They are, they, like, you know, like, full on ash, you can't burn it.  So there are things that have no calories.  Legos aren't--if you're talking about the scientific definition of calories, one of those things.

J: Alright, so the other correction we got a number of times was that in a recent episode you said that canned pumpkin does not contain pumpkin.  Many people wrote in to say that they have cans of pumpkin that list just the one ingredient which is pumpkin, which sounds like you made a mistake, but in fact, if anyone made a mistake, it's the USDA.

H: Yes.  Ah, the USDA.  Why are they so in charge of our food?  Well, I mean, so I looked at Snopes, there's an article on Snopes about this, and indeed, most canned pumpkin contains a kind of pumpkin, but the question is, what is pumpkin, but mostly canned pumpkin has a Dickinson Pumpkin in it, which are not the kind of pumpkins that you would buy and carve into a jack-o-lantern, but they are pumpkins, things that we would call pumpkins, but also a lot of times, canned pumpkin has squash in it, but the United States Department of Agriculture declares that squash is also pumpkin, and so you can say 100% pumpkin and you can have the word 'pumpkin' be the ingredient, but it could still be squash.

 (04:00) to (06:00)


J: I know this is the kind of detail-oriented analysis that people come to the pod to find out about.  Everybody's like, man, I didn't know the definition of pumpkin included squash until I listened to that episode of Dear Hank and John.  The last thing, Hank--

H: Do you wanna hear the United States Department of Agriculture's definition of pumpkin?

J: More than I want almost anything in the whole world.

H: "The canned product prepared from clean sound and properly matured golden (?~4:26) firm-shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins and squashes by washing, stemming, cutting, steaming, and reducing to a pulp."

J: So now you know what is a pumpkin according to the United States Department of Agriculture.  Hank, that brings me, at last, at long last, to the short poem of the day, which goes like this: "God, save our gracious Queen.  Long live our noble Queen.  God, save the Queen.  Send her victorious, happy, and glorious.  Long to reign over us.  God, save the Queen."

H: Yes.

J: Hank, I said that the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II was the Queen of England in our last video, and every single resident of the British Isles wrote in to say that that is incorrect.  Here is an example e-mail from Aiden, "As a British citizen and loyal subject of Her Majesty, I fear I must submit a correction regarding the title of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  While she's often referred to as the Queen of England, she is actually the Queen of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several other countries.  There has not been a Queen or King of England since 1707 when the Acts of Union formally joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into one United Kingdom."  While that's all fine and good, Aiden, until Brexit ends the United Kingdom and then she'll be the Queen of England again (?~5:56)

H: Okay.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)


Well, I think, well, I'm glad that we are being held to the standard of insufferable pedantry that we hold others to, John.

J: Yeah, I think we might have to stop reading corrections on this podcast just so the--just so it doesn't become Dear Hank and Pedantry.

H: Oh, God.  Let's do some questions before we spend the entire podcast on corrections.

J: Yeah, okay, that sounds good.  Our first question today comes from Katie, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I've heard a lot of people say that if you listen to something while you sleep, you'll remember it better.  I'm learning Japanese, and there's a lot of stuff I need to memorize.  Will listening to Japanese lessons while I sleep help me at all?  How would this even work?  Sushi and koalas!"

H: Uh, I don't think that works, but I didn't do any research on it.  John, you highlighted this question yourself, so I figured maybe you had an answer.

J: Uh, yeah, it works.  

H: Oh!  Really?  

J: Yeah.  

H: Tell me more.

J: Research published in the journal 'Cerebral Cortex' by the Swish National--Swish.  Oh, the wonderful country of Swisherland.  Research published in the journal 'Cerebral Cortex' by the Swiss National Science Foundation claims that listening to newly learned foreign vocabulary while sleeping can help solidify the memory of the words.  So, improbably, this might help a little bit.  It's not gonna help a ton, but it might help a little bit.

H: Oh, well, good.  I--uh, what else can I learn while I sleep, John?  Is there--are there other things that I could be doing while sleeping, because I spend a lot of time doing it.  I enjoy it very much, and I would like to feel productive while I'm doing it.

J: Well, I wanna emphasize that it doesn't help that much, but it does help a little bit.  I don't think that there's anything else that you can do while sleeping other than sleep, but having said that, I'm sure someone's gonna write in with a correction.

H: It's gonna--do you think I could, like, figure out how to eat while I'm sleeping?  'Cause those are like the two main things that I sort of have to do.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)


Also if I could poo and pee while sleeping, 'cause although I--like, if I get rid of all the major, like, bodily functions during the sleep period, I feel like that would be a lot more efficient.

J: I'll tell you who's able to poo and pee while sleeping: babies.  

H: That's interesting.

J: You're about to find out quite a lot about pooing and peeing while sleeping.

H: Do you think that they wake up and like, lay down the duke and then just go back to sleep?

J: No.  I 100% know for a fact that they do not need to wake up to poop, because I cannot tell you how many times while I was holding my infant children, they, with their eyes beatifically closed, breathing--I don't know if you can hear the jackhammer, by the way, but that jackhammer has been going on inside of what feels like inside of my office room for the last 1700 years.  So if you can hear the jackhammer, I apologize, but I promise you it is far, far worse inside my brain.  But, yeah, I can't tell you how many times I've been looking down at my beatifically smiling and sleeping child at the exact moment that they just ripped a huge poop.  

H: Alright, well, that debate has been settled then.  Alright, John, we've got another question, this one is also from Katie, we assume a different Katie, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, If Mars once had large bodies of water flowing on it and now doesn't, what happened to them?  Does this mean that Earth could dry up too?  Will Earth be referred to as a 'cold dead rock in the sky' by a future John-like inhabitant of Pluto?  Also, if Earth formed by lots of rock coming together, how did water even come to be here in the first place?  Why don't we see water floating around in space.  Why aren't there water meteors?  Please help.  These questions are consuming my mind."  Do you know what a water meteor is, John?  

J: It's a meteor, right?  They have lots of ice on them, don't they?

 (10:00) to (12:00)


H: Well, for--mostly we would call--if it was like an all-water meteor, that's just a comet.

J: Oh, right.  

H: It depends on where they come from, but comets are basically, if you get hit by a meteorite that is made of ice, that was probably a comet.  There are also meteorites that have a bunch of water in them.  There are lots of places in our solar system that are made of water.  There are moons of Jupiter and Saturn that are made almost entirely, if not entirely, of water, and yeah, it's--there's water all over the place in the solar system, but it is in the form of ice and that's because it's too cold other places for the water to be liquid, which is why it is possible that there is liquid water in places in the solar system, but they would not be on the surface of the planets because the thing that we have that keeps Earth warm is our atmosphere and it keeps it--what a wonderful temperature so that liquid water can happen and so can life.  

J: So, but, to the question, will Earth someday be a cold dead rock and will a future me be like, Earth is just a stupid cold dead rock, it doesn't matter?

H: Uh, no.  Earth will, for a while, be a hot dead rock, though.  

J: I can't wait for that one.

H: Yeah, that's a long time from now, but I don't think that we'll ever be a cold dead rock.  We're too close to the sun but the sun will get hotter and expand and for a while before we are consumed by the sun as it expands into a red giant, we will be a hot, dead, waterless rock.

J: But that probably won't be super relevant to humans on account of how we will no longer be alive.

H: Uhh, yeah.  Yeah.  We will either have completely ceased to exist or we will have found some way to have found another place to be because we'll be like, boy, this place is not great anymore, let's move along.  

J: I wish there was a way to make a bet on which of those outcomes is going to happen because I'm pretty sure that I would win that one.

 (12:00) to (14:00)


H: I mean, it would have to be real long odds for me to go that humans are gonna survive past the point of the sun becoming a red giant.

J: What do you think the over/under is, Hank, on when the human experiment will end?

H: (Laughs) Well, that is--that is one that, by definition, we won't be able to see the actual outcome of.

J: Yeah, no, I'm not saying that you could put a bet on it in Vegas, I'm asking you to like, estimate your point over/under of how long humans will be a thing.

H: I don't--that--you know, John, that question gives me a lot of anxiety.  I was--I am surprised to discover that I am feeling a feeling inside of me that must be similar to what you feel all the time. 

J: Yeah, that is--'cause I'm constantly thinking about that question.  I--here's my estimate.  I think a good over/under is about 1200 years.  I think if we last longer than 1200 years, we might last a very, very long time, but I think we've got a very good chance of not lasting 1200 years.

H: I think that there will almost definitely be humans in 1200 years.  There might be substantially fewer of them.

J: Yeah, I don't know, man, I hope that you're right, but uh, I do think that neither of us will be around to settle it.

H: Yes, I agree that I will not be alive in 1200 years because of the inevitable decline of my body into death.  Do you have another question for us?

J: I do, and it's about death.  Lily writes in to say, "Dear John and Hank, It seems this comedy podcast about death has been lacking in the death department lately."  Lily, have you not been listening to the current episode?  Anyway, "I live in a pretty big city, and even though I don't check the obituaries every day, I imagine that multiple people die each day.  Is there a statistical ratio where one out of blank people die every day, and could we apply that to a hypothetical town, like, say Deathville had one person die every day.  Would Deathville have population blank?  What is this blank number?  How many people would live in Deathville?"

 (14:00) to (16:00)


H: Uh, well, I did some pre-research on this question, John, because I wasn't gonna trust my ability to do math during the podcast, so I--so I'm assuming that Deathville is in the US where the mortality rate is 821.5 deaths per 100,000 people per year, and now obviously, that's influenced by demographics, like, if you have an older town in like, South Florida, then that is gonna be more than 821.5 deaths per year, but I'm gonna assume that it is, like, the same generic demographics, just a perfect amalgam averaged town in America that is exactly like the rest of America, so if you live in--so if you've got 821.5 deaths per year for every 100,000 people, if you live in a town of 100,000 people, multiple people will die every day.  Statistically, now, you will have good days where no one will die and you will have bad days where like, 20 people will die, but on average, over the year, you know, there will be more than one person dying per day.  Now, you do a little bit of math on these numbers and you discover that the population of Deathville, where odds are exactly one person dies every day all year round, and that population is 44,430 people.

J: Wow.  Wow.

H: You know, John, I have a friend who works at the cemetery in town, and he's like, yeah, you--it's a weird thing, like, we're--we'll have weeks where like, it's just nothin', nothin' happens, and then suddenly it's like, okay, we've got 18 bodies that we gotta get in the ground.  

J: Yeah, no, like, imagine in the middle ages when plagues would come through town.  Then it was very bad.  

H: Yeah, but this is just random statistical jumping around in town, though there are some days where people are less likely to die over the course of the year, which is very interesting.  People are less likely to die.

 (16:00) to (18:00)


J: Yeah, do you know the deadliest month?

H: Uh, is it January?

J: It is January.  By a long shot, actually, and not just because it has 31 days.  Even if January had 30 days, it would be the deadliest month.

H: Wow.  I heard a story about why January is the deadliest month.  Do you have a theory as well?

J: Well, there are a lot of theories.  One of them is that the flu is big in winter.  Another one is that people like to live through Christmas.  

H: The other one that I have heard is that there is a--there are tax reasons why it's better to die on January 1st than December 31st and so doctors--

J: No, no, no.

H: Med--that is a made up thing?

J: Yeah, no, from a tax perspective, you'd much rather die on December 31st.  That way you don't have to pay any taxes in the new year.  

H: Okay.  

J: Okay, let's move on to another question.

H: That's probably a good idea.  We've had so much death already, John.  Let's had a question that's not, as far as we can tell, about death.  This is from Miranda, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, So I have an online shop where I sell accessories and jewelry (shameless promo for MirandaHandmade, buy my stuff).  In a few weeks, I will be selling these things in real life to real people that are not online at a market.  Everyone who is connected to this market in my town's art community is much older than me, 20s and 30s, while I am just a 14 year old infant.  How do I stop myself from feeling immature and lesser than other vendors?  How do I talk with confidence about my creations when I have so little experience?  Basically, how do I get through this without wanting to crawl into a deep hole of anxiety and weakness while screaming?"

J: So I think it's totally appropriate to feel anxiety and to want to crawl into a deep hole a bit, but I think also when you do this and get through it, you will become more confident and you will be happy that you did it, even if it doesn't go perfectly.  

 (18:00) to (20:00)


That's a big part of life is, you know, doing things that are difficult.  Now, obviously, you have to kinda measure for yourself what you can do and what you can't do, but I think you can do this.  By the way, Hank, I went to Miranda's shop just to look up some of her stuff, and I really like it.  She's got a huge interesting variety of very inexpensive stuff for sale.  My favorite thing is a pencil, she has a series of pencils with messages on them.  My very favorite one is a pencil that says "Make art, not friends".  And Miranda, I just wanna say, if you will make me 100 "Make art, not friends" pencils, I will sell them at DFTBA.com and give you 100% of the royalties.  I'm going to sell them for much more than what you're currently selling them for, because I think you're undervaluing your "Make art, not friends" pencils.  So don't buy them from Miranda, buy them from me in the future at DFTBA.com and all the proceeds will go to Miranda.  But no, she's got a really interesting aesthetic.  Like, she misspells "I love you" and the "love" in "I love you" in one of her needlepoints.  She's got this great pin that just says 'no' on it.  I don't know, she seems like a really interesting eccentric young artist, so I think that you'll do well, and you don't need to be afraid.  You're talented and interesting and you're bringing something that none of those grownups can bring to this market.

H: Yeah, and I think also, like, I have found that doing a scary thing is the only way for it to not be scary, and that doesn't happen immediately and it's not gonna happen your first time or your fifth time, but eventually it will, and doing that now is very valuable because you'll sort of have a leg up on all those folks who are starting when they're a little older and a little more secure in themselves and yeah, feeling comfortable in situations is not something that happens automatically.  

 (20:00) to (22:00)


It's something that happens with practice.

J: "Make art, not friends," I love that so much.  I mean, I know that--I know, for the record, that Miranda did not invent the phrase, "Make art, not friends," I just think the like, handwritten on a pencil "Make art, not friends" is very, very cool and I totally--I would be very happy to sell that at DFTBA.com and I am sure listeners to Dear Hank and John who cannot get enough of our hot, hot Dear Hank and John t-shirts, available now at DFTBA.com, would love "Make art, not friends" pencils, which I think will make the perfect statement at school or work.

H: Okay.  We got another question, John, this one's from Abbott, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I live in a relatively boring suburb with fairly normal residents except one.  Lovingly dubbed "Crazy Airplane Man", he lives in a warehouse about a quarter of a mile behind the high school with half of a commercial jet liner in his front yard.  He also has a marquee with various messages on it, ranging from conspiracy theory websites, to the most recent "Earth - Round or Flat?"  Very little is known about the reclusive Crazy Airplane Man as he rarely comes out in daylight.  There is superstition at my school that if you have a sighting, it's good luck on your next test.  I'm very pro-Crazy Airplane Man.  I think he adds character to our community and has become a legend in an otherwise unmemorable suburb.  Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way.  Many residents feel that this is an eyesore to the community and have several times tried to get him evicted.  Where do you come down on the conspiracy theorists living off the grid with broken down airplanes in suburbia?  Eyesore or eyecatching?  Iconic or icky?"

J: So this question came complete with a photograph and in the photograph, it is clear that this is not an exaggeration.  Half of a commercial jet airliner, the front half it would appear, the nose of the plane and then part of the body and even some of the wing is in this person's front yard.  

 (22:00) to (24:00)


As well as a marquee, I can't see what it says.  

H: I'm trying to blow the marquee up now to see what it says.

J: Yeah, I can't tell, but I--Abbie, I think that I probably feel differently about this, by the way, the question came from Abbie, not Abbott, I believe that was a typo that I made, I'm sorry.  

H: Okay, thanks, John.

J: But yeah, I mean, if I owned a home in this neighborhood, I think I would be like, is there any way that that half of a commercial jet airliner could perhaps be somewhere other than this front yard?

H: Yeah, I--I disagree.  

J: I knew you would!

H: I think, you know, there is--there are areas of my hood that are a little bit weird and the people have had strange ideas about what they would like to have in their front yards, and I think that that's great.  I think that we can't like, submit to the homogeneity of, like, everybody has the same aesthetic, everybody has the same things.  Some people are like, hey, I found this half of a commercial airliner for sale at a place, and it seemed like a good deal and I bought it so that I--when my relatives came to visit, they could sleep in there or whatever.  I don't know what they're doing with it.  But hey, why not?  Why not, John?  

J: I'm just gonna tell you straight up that if my next-door neighbor put half of a commercial jet airliner in their front yard, I would go over there and I would say, hey, um, so, uh, wh--is this a long-term thing?  That's how I would deal with it.  I would just be like, so, what's the time horizon on this, because like, humans in my estimation have about 1200 years to live.  How many of those 1200 years am I going to have to spend looking at this one half of a commercial jet airliner in your front yard?

H: Well, I've worked really hard to blow up this marquee, John, and as far as I can tell, it says 'Five Neat to Boop Thfth' so I don't think I see it.

J: So I'm also looking at the exact same image and it is an extremely blown up image of a marquee.  We will post it on the Patreon, Patreon.com/DearHankandJohn.  

 (24:00) to (26:00)


I think it says "Heat in also but".  

H: Okay.

J: It definitely, that last word is definitely but but the 'b' is a Cyrillic 'b', it's not--maybe that's the number six, actually now that I look closely.  Probably not a  Cyrillic 'b'.  Probably the number six.  But I guess it could be a 'g'.  Gift.  Is that--the last word is gift!  

H: Maybe?  Ehhhh.

J: Sweat in boob gift.  That's my final guess.

H: Alright, John.  Well--

J: The great thing about this gag is that it's completely visual and so only you and I can enjoy it, or people who like, currently have access to the web and are going to Patreon.com/DearHankandJohn to be like--

H: Yeah.  Yes.  Uhhh, uhhh--

J: Sweet on boob--

H: Everybody--it's definitely boob!  It's definitely boob.  John, if you could have any one weird thing in your front yard, what would it be?

J:  I mean, again, I wanna emphasize this, my goal is to be a neighbor.  The only thing I'd like to have a vegetable garden in my front yard, which some people see as weird or countercultural, but I think what's really weird is having turf grass in your front yard when you are never out there and so it's just a plant that you have to take care of that provides you with no value.

H: Well, what if you like, lived in a warehouse like, in the middle of a field, half a mile behind the local high school?  

 (26:00) to (28:00)


Like what if you were all by yourself?

J: Yeah, then I would have--what I would have is an old class A RV.  As you know, Hank, I've always wanted a class A RV.  I have always thought that that's when I will have really made it, so if I didn't have to live with the judgment of my neighbors, I would have a big honkin' RV right out front.  I also should mention, if I didn't have to live with my spouse.  There is--I mean, if I brought home a recreational vehicle and I was like, this is--this is our second car now, I was gonna get a minivan, but then I thought, what could fit all of us really comfortably and so I bought this motorhome.  In that situation, I think that's one of the very few things that I could do that would result in an immediate dissolution of our marriage.

H: Uh, yeah, I also think that my idea would not be good for the sanctity of my home and family.  I was thinking maybe like, sort of the world's largest dachsund.

J: Oh, you mean like a sculpture?

H: Like, it could be a roadside attraction.  Yeah.  It was just like, it was a whole giant, like, 30 foot tall dachsund.  

J: Sure, yeah.  That is horrible.  That would be bad.  On a--reminds me that on the way to Alice's gymnastics class, there is this weird sculpture garden that has all of these like, huge dinosaurs made out of you know, scrapped car parts and the dinosaurs are like 20 feet tall, and there's a really prominent sign in the middle of this sculpture garden and the sign says, "This is a hobby.  Not for sale." and I've just always thought that is the best.  Like, I got so tired of people coming by being like, I wanna buy your gigantic dinosaur sculpture that they posted on the yard "Stop.  This is my hobby."  

 (28:00) to (30:00)


H: Don't try to ruin this for me!  If it becomes a job, it's no longer fun.  Hey, I understand where you're coming from.

J: Alright, Hank, we have another question.  I thought this one was really fascinating and complex and difficult, so I'm gonna make you answer it.  It comes from Jade, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm a biracial black and white woman from Missouri, currently living with a host family in Nicaragua.  I just saw my host sister wearing a Confederate flag shirt, and I don't know what to do.  When I see the flag in the states, even states that were never part of the confederacy, I know that the wearers or wavers of the flag know the historical and racial tension of our country.  Here, I'm positive my host sister knows none of that.  She likely got it as a hand-me-down or because it was cheap.  Should I try to start a conversation about race in America, or should I accept that in this context, maybe it's just a piece of fabric?  Best wishes, Jade."  

H: Yeah, symbols and the weight that they carry and how they can be stripped of that and--

J: Right.

H: And that, in this case, I'm sure, or in Nicaragua, it has been stripped of that.  Like, no--or it just, that context doesn't exist, and--

J: Right, it's been stripped of that context, but at the same time, it might be a way to start an interesting and important conversation.

H: Yeah.

J: With your host sister about race in the United States and the symbols associated with race and to also ask, you know, what is that like here?  What is that like in your family and in your culture?  What are those symbols that are, you know, hurtful to you?  And I think--or are there symbols that are hurtful to you or to other members of your community?  And I think that might be a really interesting conversation, but I do think, you know, obviously, you're right, Jade, that the context is completely different than it would be in the US.  

H: I think that it's a good idea to know what your goals for the conversation are before you go into it, so that, you know, you're not necesarily putting them on the spot or making them feel bad for having worn the shirt or like, and with the knowledge that like, the context has been stripped off of it in this place and for your host sister.

 (30:00) to (32:00)


J: Right, I mean, the thing is, the context hasn't been stripped away for Jade, but it has been stripped away, of course, for the host sister.

H: Right.

J: Hank, I wanted to move on to another question.  This one extremely important, because I do not know the answer to it.  

H: Okay.

J: Sorry, my headphones just came out.  Plus the jackhammering stopped briefly so I was like, what, why is there so much quiet inside of my head?  And the answer is because the jackhammering has stopped, but don't worry, it will start again soon.  This one comes from Justin who writes, "Dear John and Hank, In the spirit of adding to your everpresent ontological dread," I'm not sure my dread is ontological, but it might be, "I was wondering, what is the likelihood of swarming grasshoppers in the form of locusts wreaking havoc on crops here in the North American continent, which sustain us and the animals we thrive upon?"

H: Oh, yes.

J: Hank?

H: Yeah.

J: Did I forget to list locust plague among my possible apocalyptic fears?

H: Uh, I think you did!  And it may be for good reason though, 'cause we got good tools for handling locust plagues these days.  

J: We do.

H: Yeah.  

J: What do we do?

H: Oh, we spray them with deadly like, chemicals that make them die.

J: Ohhh, yeah, that's a good strategy.  I was thinking that like, if the locusts ate all of our corn, then we could answer that problem by just eating the locusts, but I'm not an expert in this field.

H: Hey, you can eat--do you know, John, I once was in a--I think we were on tour.  I think, maybe, I'm not sure what it was, but I was staying in a hotel outside of Salt Lake City and we arrived at this hotel and we decided, John, there were two hotels in this town and one was like a chain, like a Marriott something or other and the other was like a mom & pop hotel with, you know, that was clearly just, like, somebody owned it, and I decided like, let's go with the non-chain hotel, and so we go to the non-chain hotel and uh, we get our room and I walk--they give me the key and I walk to the room and the--and as I approach, the number of grasshoppers begins to exponentially increase to the point where, as I look at the door, I'm like, the door is white, but it is not.  It is--and like, I had to--I--to--just walking into my hotel room, I probably killed 300,000 grasshoppers.

 (32:00) to (34:00)


I had to brush them off the doorknob as I was opening the door, I had to like, then shovel them out of the room and then the wifi didn't work and I called the--down, and they were like, can you come to the office, and I was like, no.  I cannot leave my room.  It's just--could I have an upstairs room that isn't covered literally in grasshoppers?  It was amazing.  I, like, there were--I could probably have eaten just grasshoppers if I had figured out a way to palatably eat a grasshopper.  I could probably have subsisted, me and my whole family, on those grasshoppers for weeks.  

J: So there you go.  We don't need to worry about a plague of locusts because a plague of locusts is really just a plague of new food.

H: Uh, but yeah, they're--they do still happen, these swarms of grasshoppers and they were a problem in American agriculture early on and that is one reason why, you know, like, pest management systems are important, whether those are organic pest management or pesticides and they, they stabilize our food systems and as much as, you know, the industrial system, that agriculture has its problems, it also has solved a lot of problems.

J: Which, by--that reminds me, Hank, that today's podcast is brought to you by a plague of locusts!

 (34:00) to (36:00)


A plague of locusts: delicious and nutritious.

H: This podcast is also brought to you by half an airplane in your front yard.  It's available now, somehow, I don't know, ask that guy behind the school.

J: Today's podcast is also brought to you by MirandaHandmade.  MirandaHandmade: Selling her stuff for the first time at a real life market shortly and on the internet right now.

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by poopin' in your sleep.  Poopin' in your sleep, available now if you're under the age of three.

J: Hank, before we get to the all-important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, I just want to read you one e-mail that came in from a listener named Ben.

H: Okay.

J: I don't--unfortunately, this is also an image based gag, but it's really worth it to head over to the Patreon, I promise I'm not saying this just so that you'll subscribe, but for a dollar a month, you do get incredible perks.  Ben writes, "Hello.  Hank, in the most recent episode of Dear Hank and John, you mentioned how creepy the image of horses with people hands is to you.  I would have to entirely agree, mainly for one reason: I'm an RA, and one of my residents sent me a link to her favorite book cover, and I have to say that it caused me complete shock and awe.  I hope you appreciate and/or fear this, because I certainly did."  And then there is a cover of a novel by the author David Busell, which is presumably a pseudonym, and the title of the novel is But, You're a Horse.  Let me see if I can phrase that title differently to make it clear what the subject matter of the book is.

H: Oh my God.

J: But...But You're a Horse.  And on the cover of the book, a woman is arm in arm with a horse with semi-human hands and it is indeed a distressing, distressing thing.

H: Oh no, they're--

 (36:00) to (38:00)


Yeah.  They are pretty human hands, and human arm kind of too, and like a human bicep running up into this beautiful graceful horse neck and creepy veiny horse head.  Not a thing that should exist.  

J: Yeah, it's like a reverse centaur, like, I feel like centaurs are okay because they got the human head, that's the key, really.  You've gotta have the human head.

H: You know--

J: And the human hands.  

H: One of my favorite images on the internet that I ever saw was a centaur that instead of having a human torso on a horse body, it had a horse torso on a horse body, so the weird thing about a centaur is that it has two arms and then four legs, which is not a thing that happens in nature.  So this image was a horse with four legs and then it had two more legs sticking up off the top of it and it was like, I'm a monstrosity that should never have been imagined!!  John, do you have news from AFC Wimbledon?

J: I do.  But I actually paid quite a bit of attention to the news from Mars this week, because it was relevant to my interests.  My interest being keeping, you know, human beings on Earth until at least 2028.  The news from AFC Wimbledon is mixed.  Tie against Shrewsberry, as really kind of two points lost rather than one point won, you get one point for a tie and three for a win.  Shrewsberry is not a strong league one team and we were playing them at home.  That's the kind of game we will likely wish we had won at the end of the season and we were winning it in the second half and then lost.  Currently, like, literally currently, Hank, as we are recording, AFC Wimbledon is playing Coventry City, and it is going not great.  Down one-nil at ten minutes in, so maybe there is time for a comeback.

 (38:00) to (40:00)


J: I believe there is that old song that they sing around the ground, one-nil down, to two-one up, that's the way that we're going to secure enough points to be in league one again next season, and we shall hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  The news from Mars seems very interesting and promising, if you want to be on Mars before 2028.  

H: Well, yeah, so Elon Musk did his little keynote thing where he was just very excited and basically did a--did, you know, captured all of our attention and imaginations with a plan to get to Mars relatively quickly, John.  Maybe quickly enough that we're gonna keep this podcast named Dear Hank and John past 2028, which, you know, I have no doubt that we'll be still making it then.  So the, you know, it was a big--it's very difficult to talk about all of the things he talked about.  A lot of it is things that we discussed previously, you know, reusing rockets, using that to keep the cost down, manufacturing fuel and propellant in space, manufacturing propellant on the surface of Mars, are necessary steps to get the cost down, but even if the cost does come down, they're talking about getting it down to like, a $140,000 per ton to get to Mars, which is super cheap, super cheap!  But still very expensive also.  So the question remains, like, who would be paying for that.  In Elon Musk's eventual imagination, some--not--beyond just some sort of the first--our first goes here, he was saying maybe a person could get to Mars for the cost of roughly a home here on Earth and at that point, you actually have a viable system for having a sustainable presence--not, maybe not sustainable, I mean, that's obviously Elon Musk's eventual goal, but a continual presence on the surface of Mars.  

 (40:00) to (42:00)


Now, I wanna say, as a big fan of Mars and as a big fan of exploring the solar system, a sustainable colony--like, it is, it's, you know, you talk about like, the extinction, like, there's this thing that we talk about how we should be a multiplanetary species so if something goes very wrong here on Earth, we will still have this backup plan on Mars.  To me, that argument makes no sense, because if something goes very wrong here on Earth, probably there will still be people who survive and that the possibility of that thing going very wrong is very low, whereas on Mars, the possibility of a humanwide extinction level event, even if there are hundreds of thousands of people on Mars, is very likely, because it is not easy to make it work on Mars.  So this is a bad backup plan.  It's like saying, well, you know, I need a backup car, so you get like, a scooter that doesn't have a carburator and runs on gasoline they don't make anymore.  It's a bad backup, you know, you probably, your, you know, your brand new Honda Civic's probably gonna be just fine, so you don't need this like, terrible backup and how long is it gonna take you if--take you forward if your Honda Civic actually breaks and is destroyed?  You'll probably have your scooter for another like, two months before it breaks down.  So, I like, I--the multiplanetary species argument to me is just like--it's a bit of a dream, unless we're talking about time horizons on the tens of thousands of years, but maybe we should be thinking on that time horizon, John.  Maybe the over/under shouldn't be 1200, maybe it should be 50,000 and we should be thinking like that, but I don't know.  I don't know.

J: I watched Elon Musk's video that came out at the same time as all these announcements about how he was gonna get to Mars, and it's a four minute video and the last 15 seconds of it, you watch the red planet go to being a green and blue and red planet, and all the steps up until that step, I sort of vaguely understood how they were possible, and then that last step, I was like, oh come now, like, have we flashed forward like, 500 million years?  

 (42:00) to (44:00)


But, that said, Hank and I are terrible at predicting the future.  We have a hideous, hideous run when it comes to predicting the future, so maybe humans will be here for four more years, or maybe 400,000,000 more years.  Who knows?

H: Who knows?  Good job, humans, so far, though.  We've done some interesting stuff.  Like, for example, all the things we learned today.  What were those, John?

J: Well, Hank, we learned the population of Deathville, which is exciting to know.

H: Ah, yes, 44,430 people.  Deathville!  We learned that John really really wants an RV that he will never get.  

J: Truly I will never get it.  Also, I'm not sure that deep down I actually want it, because I'm not exactly sure what happens when you poop in an RV, but it seems difficult.  We learned that a plague of locusts is really just an exciting new diet.

H: Oh and of course, we learned that John has no idea how to pronounce 'Asa'.  

J: That's true, I don't, that was really good, Hank.  I still think it's--I still think it's something along the lines of Aze.  Almost like the fauns in Happy Days, but I mean, I'll leave it to the experts, of course, it's only linguists who know for sure.  Hank, sweat or blood gift, that's my new guess for what the sign says, the marquee sign says.  I'm sorry, I'm just looking at it.  Thanks for podding with me, always a pleasure.  Thanks to everyone for your questions.  Sorry for all the questions we didn't get to this week.

 (44:00) to (45:00)


If you wanna e-mail us you can do so at hankandjohn@gmail.com.  You can find us on Twitter, I'm @johngreen, Hank is @hankgreen.  Hank also uses the Snapchat on occasion, hankgre.  You can follow our most important social media profile on Twitter, @LeonMuss4Earth, Leon Muss still working hard to make sure that his friend Elon Musk does not get humans to Mars before 2028.  Our next episode will be up on the 17th of October.  I'm sorry about the break, but we both need it.

H: And this podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins.  The theme music is from Gunnarolla.  Rosianna Halse Rojas helps out with the questions.  The--our social media is done by Victoria Bongiorno, and as they say in our hometown...

H&J: Don't forget to be awesome.
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